Bible Belt Religion (Spring 2013)
Religious Studies 530-001/635
Professor John Schmalzbauer
Office: Strong Hall 263
In recent years, journalists and scholars have written about the divide between “red states” and “blue states,” conservative evangelicals and liberal secularists, bi-coastal elites and “Middle America.” Much of this discourse has focused on the conservative religious and political orientation of the American South and Midwest. While many treatments of “red state” conservatism have been based on regional and religious stereotypes, the heightened focus on geographical divisions has raised important questions about the relationship between religion and place. In an effort to bring scholarly rigor to the discussion, this course focuses on two aspects of American religious life: 1) Evangelical Protestantism; and 2) Region. Drawing on the fields of American religious history and the sociology/anthropology of religion it focuses on the evolution and development of evangelical Protestantism in the South, the Midwest, and Southern California. It will also explore the invention of the “Bible Belt” and “evangelicalism” as cultural constructs.
In this course, you will:
1) Paul Harvey,
Moses, Jesus and the Trickster in the
Evangelical South (
2) Darren Dochuk,
From Bible Belt to
3) Susan Friend Harding,
The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist
Language and Politics (
4) T.M. Luhrmann, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God (Knopf, 2012).
5) D. Michael Lindsay,
Faith in the Halls of Power: How
Evangelicals Joined the American Elite (
6) William Lindsey and Mark
Silk, Religion and Public Life in the
Web Readings and Handouts: These are an essential part of the class.
Attendance Policy: Attendance is required at all class meetings. Participation grades will be penalized for excessive absences.
Class Participation (25 points): Students will be evaluated on their participation in class discussions, familiarity with the readings, and the quality of their comments.
Reflection Paragraphs (75 points): Several times in the semester, students will be asked to write a paragraph reflecting on the readings. This is an opportunity for the instructor to see how students are processing the readings. It is also an opportunity for students to express their opinions. They will be graded on the extent to which they show familiarity with the readings and for their thoughtfulness.
Paper #1: (150 Points) Analysis of Primary Sources
Students will write a 6-8
page paper analyzing 3-5 primary sources from a local archive. The sources must
relate to Darren Dochuk’s From Bible Belt
to Sunbelt. Local collections may be found at the
Paper #2: (150 Points) Ozarks Church Observation Papers
Students will write a 6-8 page paper based on observations of a local Baptist or charismatic church service. The goal of the paper will be to relate first-hand observations and impressions to the ethnographic accounts presented in Susan Harding’s The Book of Jerry Falwell and T.M. Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back. Due Wednesday April 3 in class. See separate handout. Graduate student papers should be 9-11 pages long and focus on two congregations.
Examinations (600 points total; 300 points each): There will be two examinations in this course. They will follow a short answer and essay format.
Total Number of Points: 1,000
The following grading scale will be used:
4.0 A: Outstanding Work (93-100)
3.7 A- : Excellent Work (90-92)
3.3 B+: Near Excellent Work (87-89)
3.0 B: Very Good Work (83-86)
2.7 B-: Good Work (80-82)
2.3 C+: Slightly Above Satisfactory Work (77-79)
2.0 C: Satisfactory Work (73-76)
1.7 C-: Slightly Below Satisfactory Work (70-72)
1.3 D+: Passing Work (67-69)
1.0 D: Minimum Passing Work (63-66)
0.0 F: Failed—No Credit (0-62)
0.0 I: Incomplete
Your performance in this class will be graded using the plus/minus system. If a student is on the border of a grade, the instructor will take into consideration the overall performance of the student, class participation, and amount of improvement.
Academic Honesty Policy:
on Disability Accommodations: To
request academic accommodations for a disability, contact the Director of the
Cell Phone Policy: As a member of the learning community, each student has a responsibility to other students who are members of the community. When cell phones or pagers ring and students respond in class or leave class to respond, it disrupts the class. Therefore, the Office of the Provost prohibits the use by students of cell phones, pagers, PDAs, or similar communication devices during scheduled classes. All such devices must be turned off or put in a silent (vibrate) mode and ordinarily should not be taken out during class. Given the fact that these same communication devices are an integral part of the University’s emergency notification system, an exception to this policy would occur when numerous devices activate simultaneously. When this occurs, students may consult their devices to determine if a university emergency exists. If that is not the case, the devices should be immediately returned to silent mode and put away. Other exceptions to this policy may be granted at the discretion of the instructor.
Dropping this Class: It is your responsibility to understand the University’s procedure for dropping a class. If you stop attending this class but do not follow proper procedure for dropping the class, you will receive a failing grade and will also be financially obligated to pay for the class. For information about dropping a class or withdrawing from the university, contact the Office of the Registrar at 836-5520.
Religion at a
Office Hours for Professor Schmalzbauer: Mondays and Wednesdays ; and Thursdays -12 in Strong Hall 263 (Religious Studies Department).
I. Imagining the Bible Belt, Imagining Evangelicalism
Monday January 14: Introductions
Wednesday January 16: Defining “Bible Belt,” “South,” and “Heartland”
Reading: John Shelton Reed, “The South: Where is It? What is It?”
Reading: Stanley Brunn, Gerald Webster, and J. Clark Archer, “The Bible Belt in a Changing South: Shrinking, Relocating, and Multiple Buckles.”
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southeastern_geographer/v051/51.4.brunn.html (Click on PDF)
Reading: James Shortridge,
“The Heartland’s Role in U.S. Culture: It’s
Wednesday January 18: Defining “Evangelical” and “Evangelicalism”
http://www.wheaton.edu/ISAE/Defining-Evangelicalism (Click on all the links)
Reading: Lyman Kellstedt, John Green, James Guth, and Corwin Smidt, “Evangelicalism.”
Monday January 21: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
Wednesday January 23: “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”
Film: What’s the Matter with Kansas?
Friday January 25: Red State Religion—Interrogating the Frank Thesis
Reading: “Red State Religion: An Interview with Robert Wuthnow.”
Reading: Gary Entz, “Religion in Kansas.”
Monday January 28: Narratives of the Evangelical South
Wednesday January 30: Slavery and Freedom in the Evangelical South
Friday February 1: Jesus in the Evangelical South
II. Route 66 Evangelicalism
Monday February 4: From Bible Belt to Sunbelt, Part I
Reading: Darren Dochuk, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt, ix-26.
Wednesday February 6: From Bible Belt to Sunbelt, Part II
Friday February 8: From Bible Belt to Sunbelt,
Monday February 11: From Bible Belt to Sunbelt, Part IV
Wednesday February 13: From Bible Belt to Sunbelt, Part V
Friday February 15: From Bible Belt to Sunbelt, Part VI
Wednesday February 20: From Bible Belt to
Friday February 22: Bringing Dochuk Back Home
Bring primary sources to class. They should relate to Dochuk’s book and make use of local collections (Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, John Brown University, etc.).
**Primary Sources Paper Due Today**
Monday February 25: Jerry Falwell and American Politics, Part I
Reading: Susan Friend Harding, The Book of Jerry Falwell, ix-82.
Wednesday February 27: Jerry Falwell and American Politics, Part II
Friday March 1: Jerry Falwell and American
Monday March 4: Jerry Falwell and American Politics, Part IV
Wednesday March 6: Fundamentalism and the Biblical Narrative
Friday March 8: Examination #1
IV. Evangelicalism and Religious Experience
Monday March 18: Experiencing God, Part I
Wednesday March 20: Experiencing God, Part II
Friday March 22: Experiencing God, Part
Monday March 25: Experiencing God, Part IV
Wednesday March 27: Experiencing God, Part V
Monday April 1: Making Sense of Luhrmann
Wednesday April 3: Exploring Baptist and Charismatic Churches in the Ozarks
V. Cosmopolitan and Populist Evangelicals
Friday April 5: Evangelicals in the American Elite, Part I
Reading: D. Michael Lindsay, Faith in the Halls of Power, xi-37.
Monday April 8: Evangelicals in the American Elite, Part II
Wednesday April 10: Evangelicals in the American
Friday April 12: Evangelicals in the American Elite, Part IV
Monday April 15: Evangelicals in the American Elite, Part V
Wednesday April 17: Evangelicals in the American Elite, Part VI
Friday April 19: Thomas Kinkade and Populist Evangelicalism
Reading: Randall Balmer, “The Kinkade Crusade.”
Reading: S. Brent Plate, “Cozy Cottage or House on Fire?”
Monday April 22: Chick-fil-A and Populist Evangelicalism, Part I
**Evening Lecture by Darren Grem, Carrington 208 at 7:30 p.m.**
**Evening Lecture by Darren Grem, Carrington 208 at 7:30 p.m.**
Reading: Drake Bennett, “Chick-fil-A: Deep Fried Civil War.”
VI. Religion in the Southern Crossroads States
Friday April 26: Religion in the Southern Crossroads, Part I
Monday April 29: Religion in the Southern Crossroads, Part II
Wednesday May 1: Religion in the Southern
Friday May 3: Religion in the Southern Crossroads, Part IV
Monday May 6: Evaluating the Religion by Region Project
Reading: Nancy Ammerman, “Local Color: American Religion, Region by Region.”
Wednesday May 8: Red or Blue? Analyzing Ozarks Religious and Political Data
Bring religious and
political data on an Ozarks county to class today.
Professor Schmalzbauer will provide a
worksheet for you to fill out. Each student should pick a different county.
**Final Examination: Wednesday May 15, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Strong 409**